Good News From a Dumb Endorsement?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

First, the bad news: Donald Trump, who cost his own party two Senate seats in Georgia in '20-'21, has dipped his muddy toe in the waters of the Pennsylvania Senate race, endorsing celebrity quack Mehmet Oz over a Republican who has risen from obscurity to front-runner status.

The good news is that this seems unlikely to make much of a difference. Although they generally like Trump, Republicans in Pennsylvania are scratching their heads over this one, rather than contorting themselves to figure out the "3-D chess" behind the endorsement or, worse, just going along with it:

Image by the Office of United States Senator Claire McCaskill, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
“President Trump was very out of sync in picking Oz," said Dave Ball, chairman of the Washington County Republican Party. "I’d like to know who it is who lives in Pennsylvania that knows the voters well told Trump to pick Oz."


Ball says he fielded calls all day from conservatives unhappy with the former president's decision. They complained about the reasons Trump gave -- noting his celebrity status, Harvard credentials, New York Times bestseller status, and praise Oz had for the former president's health. "People have been calling me all day and asking, 'What the hell was he thinking?'"

Trump's comment that "women, in particular, were drawn to Dr. Oz for his advice and counsel" didn't sit well with many female Trump supporters who were interviewed.
The piece -- in the conservative Washington Examiner no less -- notes that working class voters across places like rural Pennsylvania has been drifting towards the Republican Party even before Trump came along, and argues that events support that contention:
If Trump-endorsed candidates don't end up winning, it provides even more evidence for the thesis that Trump did not create the movement that has supported him since 2016, [political scientist Paul] Sracic said. "In other words, the Republican Party has not become a Trump cult, as some in the media, and even in the Republican Party, seem to think."
Let's hope he's right: With all the "Let's go Brandon!" flags I keep seeing -- which remind me of the "Resist" and "2020" tee shirts I saw in Maryland while Trump was in office -- it's easy to think otherwise. Perhaps the Trump cultists are indeed a small, if vocal, minority.

-- CAV

P.S. To be clear: This post is in no way an endorsement of the GOP front-runner, of whom I know very little. The fact that Trump is endorsing Dr. Oz of all people demonstrates an incredible degree of ignorance, contempt for reason, or both.

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